I will agree that our original view of the Cold War dynamic, with the original weapons races and posturing, took a time out for a few years. Then again, Germany took a time out after World War I, but it didn’t stop them from coming back with a vengeance in 1936. I also agree that the “Wall” came down and social change was made in Russia, but regardless of this, the Soviet mind set is well entrenched with many, to include Vladimir Putin. His actions are completely consistent with that mind set, and they reflect the man himself, and the long authoritarian history of his country. Make no mistake, he is determined to turn back the clock, and regardless of our view of whether the “Cold War” is over or not, to them we’re still in it. This factor alone makes me think that the question of whether this is a “Cold War” or not, is actually moot. One thing that is sure, this is not a “debate” as one pundit stated on Fox News. Are you kidding? Debate implies civilized discourse. When you start using troops to enforce your will on another nation, then debate is not what I would call it.
I will concede that the Russians see themselves as having to take a break after the collapse of the USSR. To me though, this break was simply to change their tactics based on the reality on the ground. The underlying distrust and hostility is still there, and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Brace yourself, because we’re in for a long road with this one. The pattern was set shortly after Putin took control, and has continued through the 2008 invasion of Georgia, and now into Crimea. What’s next? Perhaps all of the Ukraine, or maybe moves into various of the Baltic states. This of course is less likely now, based on the NATO agreements, but is that something that is really going to stop them? Regardless, Putin wants a buffer from the West, and he will take whatever action he deems as necessary to rebuild that buffer and control more turf. In other words, to believe that he isn’t trying to rebuild the empire, because you’ve done a “reset” or saw his soul through his eyes, is pure delusion. Make no mistake, this guy is a danger, and history would seem to be trying to tell us something. We aren’t in a debate, and this has nothing to do with what we say it does. Instead, we just need to take off the blinders, and see things without our rose colored glasses. Putin is imposing his will and rebuilding empires. Whether you like the semantics or not, he thinks it is the “Cold War” and so should we, for to think otherwise is ignoring the obvious. ~ Michael S. Pauley